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How to have the conversation about aged care with your parents?

Independence is a powerful emotion; it allows seniors to hold fast to their dreams and ambitions and it empowers them to live a meaningful and fulfilled life. However, it takes foresight to create a positive, secure and long-term future for your parents.

It will come as no surprise to those with older parents or relatives that starting the conversation about their future physical needs and wellbeing is a tricky one. Any discussion which parents or grandparents perceive as questioning their independence is not going to be an easy one. Even though you have all the best intentions in the world, some may see it as a vote of ‘no confidence’ in their abilities.

While no one can deny that physical decline is inevitable, incapacity to a large extent is optional. Staying active, mentally stimulated and socially engaged are all things to be encouraged. Cooking, shopping, exercising and driving are all tasks that bring joy and empowerment as we age.

However, physical niggles, medication, forgetfulness, and vision impairment can trigger unforeseen problems, new fears or an increase in the risk of accidents. For people living alone this can be especially challenging.

According to the Australian and New Zealand Falls Prevention Society, falls are the leading cause of injury-related hospitalisation in persons aged 65 years and over, and account for 4% of all hospital admissions in this age group.

Empowerment and support to stay independent

While many couples enjoy their later years together, there are also more one person households in Australia today than ever before. So as these demographics change, we must also change our way of thinking and how we look out for the needs of relatives.

The answer lies in embracing the technology which most households already use for entertainment and to stay connected. Harnessing in-home assistive technology can be the ideal first step in providing health and emotional support to older relatives. A non-intrusive personal alarm system for seniors, such as the Feros Care Smart Hub with emergency button, can encourage relatives to maintain their autonomy and to keep living the way they are. It also provides important peace of mind for children who are often looking after their own families, working long hours, and sometimes living in entirely different regions, states and even countries.

Changing perceptions about personal alarms

It’s not unusual to find that some older parents are resistant to a personal alarm, believing that it’s the start of the slippery slope into dependence and potentially aged care. However, the exact opposite can be true. Avoiding an accident or fall in the first place or ensuring a quick response should something occur will help that person stay independent longer.

Sometimes the key to gaining acceptance of this type of technology is to couch the product in contemporary terms. You’ve got to admit that ‘innovative, smart assisted technology’ sounds a lot more appealing than a personal alarm or home monitor. The reality is that many over 65s are just as tech savvy as their children and grandchildren. So the Feros Care Smart Hub is really just another innovation to make life better.

Start by involving your parents in the discussion, because when they feel listened to they are more likely to accept the process of change. The answer is not to try to do too much at once, which is why a personal alarm can be a small and gentle first step. And there’s a good chance that it will be all the assistance they’ll need for some years.

Zero in on the benefits and reinforce that it’s equipping them for a future that is healthy and secure. The beauty of this device is that it’s discrete and unobtrusive, and installation is as easy as plugging it in and turning it on. Plus it can be upgraded to provide more features as – and when – needs change. With a minimum of fuss, the Feros Care Smart Hub can also provide advanced features including fall detection and home monitoring.

So even though most seniors will tell you that 70 is the new 50, it’s never too early to introduce systems to support a long and independent future lived on their own terms. After all, hindsight is wonderful, but foresight is better. 

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